ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing

Essential Captain America: Art by Kirby, Steranko and Colan!

Updated on October 27, 2014

Captain America in the late 1960s: Art By Legends Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko and Gene Colan

Marvel Essential Captain America Volume 2 contains Captain America Nos. 103-126 from 1968-1970. Captain America had been splitting the Tales of Suspense comic book series with Iron Man through issue No. 99, and the title was renamed Captain America with No. 100.

Reading the first 18 issues of this collection you get the sense that writer Stan Lee must have liked the extra pages available once Captain America had his own book, because the stories here are deeper and more interesting than the ones in the first collection.

Lee, who wrote all the stories in this collection, had the opportunity to work with wonderful artists who helped lift the tales to great heights. Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko and Gene Colan did the bulk of the issues in this volume. The only two fill-in issues were done by John Romita and John Buscema, both high-quality artists in their own right!

So while any fan of Captain America would like the stories in this volume, it is the art that really stands out. Following are some of the highlights of this Marvel Essential book, which has the ISBN 0785108270

Buy Marvel Essential Captain America Volume 2 Today!

Captain America 112 Jack Kirby
Captain America 112 Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby's Captain America

The Co-Creator of Captain American at His Best

Legendary Jack Kirby, who co-created Captain America back in 1941, drew the first seven issues of this collection, then returned for an encore performance in issue No. 112 when artist Jim Steranko fell behind in his work.

Kirby is at his finest here when Captain America is in action. At this point in the 1960s no one represented Marvel Comics' energy and dynamite story-telling the way Kirby did.

Issue No. 112 is a lot of fun for a fill-in job. Captain America is presumed dead at the end of No. 111, and in this issue Iron Man updates Captain America's Avengers file, recounting the hero's career from fighting the Nazis to being frozen in ice to his revival in the mid-1960s. This gives Kirby the opportunity to draw many, many scenes of Captain America in action and is a real treat.

Of special note is issue No. 109, which retells Captain America's origin.

Captain America 110 Hulk
Captain America 110 Hulk

Captain America vs. the Incredible Hulk in Steranko's debut!

Captain America No. 110

Jim Steranko's stay on Captain America was extremely brief -- just three issues (Captain America 110, 111, 113). But those three issues are masterpieces! His pages jump off the page, filled with energy, and his Captain America had more litheness to him than previous artists.

Captain America No. 110 starts with a six-page fight with the Hulk. Steranko perfectly captures the Hulk's anguish and madness with every look, and his image of the monster is slimmer than many other artists.

The fight serves to re-introduce Rick Jones into Captain America's world. The teenager, who was unwittingly the cause of the Hulk's creation, had hung around Captain America in the early issues of the Avengers. Writer Stan Lee brings the two together again to try out Rick Jones as a new version of Bucky, Captain America's former partner who had died in World War II.

The issue then shifts to the beginning of a fight against the evil organization Hydra and introduces the villainess Madame Hydra. And the way Steranko drew her one can understand how men could be led into a life of crime by her charms!

Captain America No. 111 Steranko
Captain America No. 111 Steranko

Captain America vs. Madame Hydra

Captain America Shot to Death?

Writer Stan Lee had Captain America reveal his secret identity as Steve Rogers to the world a number of issues ago, and Captain America No. 111 starts with Hydra setting a trap for Captain America through his Steve Rogers identity. Though Captain America wins, he realizes that he will never be safe as long as the world knows who he really is.

Hydra then kidnaps Rick Jones after gassing him in a two-page sequence that is Dali-esque. Captain America goes in search of his partner and the issue ends with Captain America diving off a pier into a hail of bullets. All that is fished out is part of his costume and a Steve Rogers mask, which leads people to believe that Captain America is dead and that the Steve Rogers identity was fake.

Steranko includes a great two-page spread of Captain America tackling some gangsters on top of a car in this issue. It is gorgeous.

Captain America 117 Falcon first appearance
Captain America 117 Falcon first appearance

Gene Colan and the Debut of the Falcon!

The first African-American Superhero!

Gene Colan drew issues issues 116-126. He took over with the second issue of a great five-part fight against the Red Skull, who has managed to use the Cosmic Cube to switch bodies with Captain America. Captain America, trapped in the Red Skull's body, is attacked by enemies of the villain. He triumphs against them and beats the Red Skull in the end.

The highlight of the five issues is No. 117, which introduced the Falcon -- the first African-American superhero by a major comic book company.

Unfortunately, after the Red Skull saga, writer Stan Lee seemed to exhaust himself on the series, and the final seven issues are pretty forgettable. Colan continues with his great art, but there's a sense of aimlessness to the book that is disappointing.

Steranko? Kirby? Colan? How Do You Decide?

Jim Steranko Captain America
Jim Steranko Captain America

Which of the artists in this collection do you think was the best for Captain America? Or maybe you think there's someone else who drew the superhero better?

Here is your turn to vote!

p.s. The above illustration is one of the great two-page spreads that Jim Steranko did during his short run. Maybe that will influence your vote!

Which of the artists in this volume was the best for Captain America?

See results

Marvel Essentials vs. Marvel Masterworks - More Stories or Full Color?

Marvel Essentials and Marvel Masterworks are the two reprint series of Marvel Comics.

The Marvel Essentials series reprints the stories in black and white, on lesser quality paper, but each collection contains more than twice as many stories as the Marvel Masterworks. The Masterworks have fewer stories in each volume, but they are published in full color that presents the tales in all their original glory.

Which is better -- Marvel Essentials or Marvel Masterworks?

Marvel Essentials Series - Collect All Your Favorite Stories in a Cost-Effective Way!

The Marvel Essential series reprints many of Marvel Comics' stories in large volumes that contain several hundred pages. The series began in 1997 with the publication of the Essential X-Men No. 1 and Essential Spider-Man No. 1. Many of the volumes have been printed more than once, with different covers, so don't let that throw you off when buying. Check to make sure which volume number you are considering.

The huge advantage to these volumes is cost: a reader can get 30 or more stories for about what a half dozen new comic books cost, and the old stories have more pages of action per issue. The Essentials books are much more cost-effective than buying all the original comics as well.

A quick search for ''Marvel Essentials'' on Amazon reveals a whopping 674 items. I'm sure several are duplicates, but even so there should be one available for every comic-book fan!

Marvel Masterworks X-Men Comic Book Review: Enter the Phoenix! Plus Wolverine, Storm and Nightcrawler!
This volume reprints Uncanny X-Men No. 101-110 in full color, a collection of 10 comics during a run that really established the new X-Men as a major franchi...

X-Men's Dark Phoenix Saga: A Marvel Comic Book Review
X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga collects issues No. 129-137 of the original X-Men comic-book series, a series of tales that ends with the final battle over Jean...

The Avengers Debut! A Comic Book Review of the Marvel Masterworks Collection!
The Avengers Volume 1 was one of the first four collections when Marvel Comics began publishing its Marvel Masterworks series in 1987. Since then the company...

Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier Comic Book Review
DC: The New Frontier was a series of six comic book issues in 2004 that focused on the 1950s, when many of the major superheroes that populate the modern DC ...

X-Men Reborn in the 1970s: Storm and Nightcrawler Debut, plus Wolverine!
Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 highlights the rebirth of the team in 1975-1976, reprinting Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 and X-Men No. 94-100. Promote...

The Amazing Spider-Man Debuts! A Marvel Masterworks Comic Book Review
Marvel Comics began publishing its Marvel Masterworks series in 1987 with The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1, among others. Since then the company has come out wi...

Gene Colan, Comic Book Artist: An Appreciation
Gene Colan developed such a moody, cinematic style during his six decades as a comic book artist that his work was as easily identified as the art of Jack Ki...

Spider-Man Co-Creator Steve Ditko: Strange and Stranger Book Review
Strange and Stranger: the World of Steve Ditko was published in 2008 by Fantagraphics Books. Author Blake Bell traces the life story of this legendary and re...

Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller A Marvel Comic Book Review of The Complete Elektra Saga!
Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller Vol. 2 collects issues 168-182 of the original Daredevil series. Issue 168 was the first comic of the series that Miller ...

New York Comic Con + Anime Festival: A Comic Book Fan's Review!
The New York Comic Book Convention occurred Oct. 13-16, 2011, and coupled with the New York Anime Festival, drew more than 100,000 comic-book fans, video gam...

Joe Kubert, Comic Book Artist: An Appreciation
Comic book artist Joe Kubert died on Aug. 12, 2012, after more than seven decades of drawing and creating comic books. Over those many years he worked on a w...

The Mighty Thor Debuts: Highlights of His First Marvel Masterworks Collection
Thor, one of Marvel Comics' mightiest heroes, debuted 50 years ago in a comic book called Journey into Mystery. One of the Marvel Universe's earliest charact...

Marvel Essential X-Men Comic Book Review: Wolverine, Storm and a Return to Greatness!
Marvel Essential X-Men collects Giant-Size X-Men 1 and X-Men 94-119. Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 introduced the new team of superheroes, reviving the X-Men comic....

The Avengers in the Late 1960s: A Marvel Comics Review!
Marvel Essential: Avengers Vol. 3 contains issues 47 to 68 of the comic's original series, as well as Avengers Annual No. 2. For the most part this collectio...

The Ghost Rider Debuts! A Marvel Comic Book Review
The Marvel Essential series contains four volumes devoted to the Ghost Rider superhero, who first appeared in 1972 in a comic book called Marvel Spotlight. H...

The Rampaging Hulk Marvel Essential Comic Book Review
Marvel Essential: The Rampaging Hulk 1 is a collection of Hulk stories from his short-lived late 1970s magazine. This volume includes the tales from issues 1...

Essential Iron Fist: A Marvel Comic Book Review!
Essential Iron Fist Volume 1 collects the first four years' worth of Marvel comics starring the character, who debuted in 1974 during a martial arts craze. T...

The X-Men in the Early 1970s: Neal Adams' Dynamic Art
Marvel Essential Classic X-Men volume 3 is a real hodge-podge of stories that shows just how far below the radar screen the original X-Men had fallen in the ...

Spider-Man in the 1970s! A Marvel Comics Book Review
The Essential Spider-Man Vol. 8 contains issues No. 161-185 of the Amazing Spider-Man series, plus Nova issue No. 12 and the Amazing Spider-Man Annual No. 11...

Marvel Essential Fantastic Four Comic Book Review: Dr. Doom and Daredevil Guest Star as the Legend Grows!
The Fantastic Four rocked the comic-book world when it debuted in 1961, with writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby introducing more characterization and real...

Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man: A Review of the 1970s Marvel Comics Series!
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man first appeared at the end of 1976, and was a comic book aimed at cashing in on the growing popularity of Spider-Man....

The Fantastic Four Debuts! A Marvel Essentials Comic Book Review
The Essential Fantastic Four Volume 1 contains some of the most important stories that Marvel Comics ever published. This book contains the first 20 issues o...

Marvel Essential Fantastic Four: Galactus, Silver Surfer and the Black Panther Debut!
Marvel Essential Fantastic Four Vol. 3 contains perhaps the most-sustained run of great comic book stories of the 1960s. This collection of Fantastic Four No...

Geppi's Entertainment Museum

See Early Captain America Comics in Baltimore!

If you are ever in Baltimore check out Geppi's Entertainment Museum for one of the greatest comic-book collections on display anywhere. See my lens for more details on what you can expect during a visit!

Geppi's Entertainment Museum in Baltimore: A Tourist's Guide to Comic Book Heaven!
Geppi's Entertainment Museum is located in Baltimore and is dedicated to all sorts of American pop culture: comic books, television, radio, movies, magazines...

Here's your chance to speak up about Captain America, the collection of comic book stories, this review or anything else you want to mention!

Thanks for stopping by!

What do You Think of These Captain America Tales? - Now it's Your Turn to Speak Up!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • wildbluefrontier profile image

      Nathan M 4 years ago from Tucson

      Well I'll shamefacedly admit that I'm not much of a Kirby fan. Steranko and Colan on the other hand I like very much. There are some great Captain America tales in these books.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      Your articles are always amazing. I know that Captain America is popular but my favorite will always be cartoons like Richie Rich and Archie (I have no class lol).

    • FloridaDino profile image

      FloridaDino 5 years ago

      Cap is my favorite Marvel character (I've done a lens for him too!), these were great stories. My favourite run though was the 80's Stern/ Byrne run.

    • sbconcepts profile image

      sbconcepts 5 years ago

      This is some really great info on one of my son's favorite Heroes. I will have to get him to take a read when he gets in from school. Thanks for a great squidoo!

    • Fox Music profile image

      Fox Music 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this fun comic lens "Essential Captain America: Art by Kirby, Steranko and Colan!"